Damon & Jo Reveal Their Top 6 Travel Essentials

Anyone with access to the World Wide Web has likely come across a travel influencer posting photos or videos of some exotic destination at one point or another. The opinions and endorsements of travel influencers have begun to play a pivotal role in tourism. In the early days of travel influencers, best friends and business partners, Damon and Jo, paved the way by creating educational and entertaining YouTube videos about travel — encouraging their followers to "shut up and go" on their next trip. Throughout their collaboration of nearly a decade, Damon and Jo garnered over 1 million subscribers on YouTube and created nearly 600 videos and a travel blog full of tips.

Damon and Jo developed such a massive following because they were relatable and their travel tips were practical and appropriate for young, budget-conscious travelers. "We felt there was an obvious lack of someone different representing the travel industry. No one that was young, multilingual, or diverse; no one like us, or the millions of other people in our generation who want to get out and see the world," they wrote in a joint blog post.

Unfortunately, in 2019, Damon and Jo's beloved YouTube Channel abruptly ended with a final video discussing their desire to pursue individual projects. You can still access all their helpful travel tip videos on YouTube, including their list of carry-on luggage essentials. If you want to travel like the pros, check out Damon and Jo's list of must-have items they refuse to leave home without.

Damon and Jo have packing a carry-on down to a science

Damon and Jo were well-known and well-loved for their fun, approachable content and easy-going humor. They shared tips on learning languages, highlighted unique destinations, and filled us in on some incredible hacks to make travel more accessible, comfortable, and affordable. It's safe to say they're experts regarding travel necessities. So, when they filmed a short video listing their favorite carry-on travel essentials while waiting for a red-eye flight, more than 300,000 people tuned in. "We've got this broken down to a science," Damon said. "It's like, we're those kind of people that make that personal item into an extra carry-on," Jo added.

Damon and Jo suggest stocking your carry-on full of things to improve your travel experience. First, they remind us that it's totally fine to bring your own food with you through airport security — as long as it's solid. While you can take liquid snacks like yogurt and peanut butter through security in packages under 3.4 ounces, it's just easiest to bring dry snacks to avoid the hassle. They're also easier to squeeze into your bag if you're low on space! If you hope to save money by taking a flight at odd hours like Damon and Jo, you'll be glad to have some things to snack on while waiting for your midnight flight. 

Next, they suggest packing an empty water bottle that you can fill up when you make it through TSA as a sustainable and money-saving alternative to purchasing drinks in the airport. "Airports are getting pretty eco-friendly about this. There are specific bottle fillers," said Jo. Staying hydrated is key to keeping you healthy and comfortable on long travel days.

Include items that will keep you comfortable throughout your flight

Jo's holy grail item that she can't travel without is coconut oil — just make sure it's TSA-approved by keeping the bottle under 3.4 ounces. "Most importantly, what coconut oil is good for on flights is keeping you hydrated, cause I feel like those air conditioners are so dry and so your skin, your lips, everything starts to crumble like a raisin, and it's not a good look," she said. Petroleum jelly is another item they recommended packing to combat airplane dryness. For those long, dry flights, a little Vaseline can help keep the skin on your nose and lips from cracking. As a bonus, "it's good to protect minor cuts and burns," adds Damon.

Airplanes can be chilly, so Damon and Jo suggest including a warm pair of socks in your carry-on to keep your feet warm. Even if you wear sandals, you can change into socks during your flight. Jo loves packing a neck pillow in her carry-on to sleep comfortably, but Damon wasn't sold on the idea. Instead, he suggested bringing an oversized, chunky "grandma sweater." It is a multi-purpose item you can wear to keep warm or bundle up and use as a pillow on the plane or at the airport.